There are few, if any, electric cars in Canal Winchester, but city officials are preparing for the day that changes.

There are few, if any, electric cars in Canal Winchester, but city officials are preparing for the day that changes.

An ordinance presented at Canal Winchester City Council's committee of the whole meeting on July 30 would establish regulations for residential and commercial charging stations.

Canal Winchester Zoning Administrator Andrew Dutton said the legislation was drawn up out of a perceived need to address the impending arrival of the electric car on the city's streets.

"We're trying to get ahead of the game, if any come into town," said Dutton.

Dutton said the Walgreens store at 6266 Gender Road has already sought approval to install a charging station on its property for commercial use.

"They had an application to put one in (but) they need a variance because our current code overly restricts (electric vehicle charging stations)," he said. "This new ordinance puts in a section that allows (charging stations) and regulates them so I can just administratively approve them."

He said "there is a lot of variation" in charging stations, ranging from a single post to one with multiple stations that looks like a typical gas station service area.

The proposed ordinance separates standards for residential and non-residential usage. It allows charging stations on residential properties with the stipulation that they "not be located within the front, side or rear setbacks of the applicable zoning district."

Under the ordinance, a residential property that has more than five electric vehicle charging stations on a single parking lot would be required to have screening in the form of landscaping and/or fencing so "it's not noticeable from the adjacent property," said Dutton.

A non-residential property with five or fewer electric vehicle charging stations, and without an overhead canopy, would be permitted as long as a minor site development plan is approved by Dutton.

Under this designation, the charging station cannot be located in the front yard setback of the applicable zoning district and can be no less than 10 feet from the side or rear property lines, according to the proposed ordinance. The ordinance also calls for such stations to be located no less than 50 feet from any residential zoning district.

However, if a non-residential property has more than five charging stations, or any of the stations include overhead canopies, then the ordinance says both a major site development plan and conditional use approval would be required by the Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Commission.

Councilman John Bender appeared supportive of the new legislation, which will now go before City Council for three separate readings, the first of which is on Aug. 20.

"It's good to be pro-active about this," he said.